A diversion is an alternative procedure in a criminal case where the prosecution is interrupted through a deal between the defendant and the prosecutor where the prosecutor either dismisses the charges completely or does not bring any charges to begin with. This deal allows the defendant to avoid a criminal conviction on his or her record if they successfully complete a rehabilitation program and a period of probation.
Some states, like Tennessee, require the trial court to consider different factors to determine whether the defendant qualifies for a diversion. Such factors include: (1) the defendant’s ability for correction, (2) the circumstances of the offense, (3) the defendant’s criminal record, (4) the defendant’s social history, (5) the defendant’s mental and physical health, (6) the deterrence value to the defendant and the rest of society.
[Last updated in July of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]